OU Football Regular Season Grades - Running Backs

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 8: Dominique Whaley #8 of the Oklahoma Sooners tries to avoid the tackle of Christian Scott #6 of the Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl on October 8, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Sooners defeated the Longhorns 55 to 17. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Heading into the season, this was thought to be the deepest positions on the team if not one of the deepest position groups on any team in the country. Then Jermie Calhoun decides to transfer, Jonathan Miller does the same, Brennan Clay doesn't seem quite right, Dom Whaley breaks his ankle, and the Roy Finch/Brandon Williams combo can't earn the coaches trust. Um yeah, not good.

Dominique Whaley: A

Final stats: 5.5 yard avg, 664 yards rushing, nine TDs

How could a walk-on who won the starting job at OU not get an "A"? Seriously though, it's not as if his work before the season ending injury doesn't warrant that same grade. Before going down against K-State, he was the Sooners only reliable back and his loss was a significant one for this offense. OC Josh Heupel didn't ever seem to favor the run much all year, but it got even worse after Whaley went out. I'm sure I am not the only one wishing him a full and speedy recovery. Even missing the last five games, his 664 yards rushing still lead the team.

Roy Finch: B-

Final stats: 5.7 yard avg, 619 yards rushing, 264 yards receiving, three TDs

Finch was used sparingly, at best, in the early part of the season because of what coaches described as poor practice habits. After eventually making his way onto the field, he was the dynamic play maker we all knew him to be. However, the mental lapses that kept him off the field early were still noticeable and that is something that will have to change if he is to see significant playing time next year. His size is never changing, so he'll never be that 'bell cow' back, but if the coaches could figure out how to use him in the right spots he could be incredibly effective.

Brennan Clay: C-

Final stats: 3.5 yard avg, 241 yards rushing, one TD

I'm not really sure how to describe it, but there is just something that seems off about Clay. I have a theory that his concussion against Florida State last year really affected him in a bad way. I'm just not sure he's 100% back from a mental perspective. He looks like he's playing timid to me. I've been as hard on him as anybody, but that said I'm not ready to write him off either. He was too good in high school and that kind of talent doesn't just disappear.

Brandon Williams: C

Final stats: 4.8 yard avg, 235 yards rushing, zero TD

His disappointing freshman season, at least in terms of expectations, was equal parts his ball security issues and an inexplicable refusal by the coaches to play him. To be honest, if you go back and look at his fumbles he was really more a victim of bad luck than anything IMO. In the game against Texas and Oklahoma State, both fumbles were caused by perfect hits with the defender putting their helmet right on the ball. I'm not trying to claim he can't improve on his game, but it's hard not to feel he never really got a fair shake this year.

Trey Millard: A

Final stats: 7.4 yard avg, 279 total yards, three TDs

Much like Williams, I come away from this season feeling Millard wasn't used near enough. We were assured by Bob Stoops after last year's Fiesta Bowl that wouldn't happen again, but then we watch this year in game after game where he seems to be an after thought for Heupel in his game plans. One can only hope this is not a trend that continues for a third year.

Aaron Ripkowski: A+

Ripkowski, another walk-on, was a beast of a lead blocker in the Bell-dozer formation. I had read after the Bedlam game that he suffered an injury at some point on kick off coverage, which made sense when late in the game (on Bell's TD run) LB Jaydan Bird was on the field in Rip's usual spot. As for the injury, I heard he had suffered a broken back but I've since heard nothing on his injury what so ever. I sincerely hope for his sake that it wasn't that serious because a broken back for a fullback would be a potentially career threatening injury I would think. We're trying to work on getting some kind of update, so once we know something I'll be sure to post it here.

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